Tottenham On This Day: Spurs First Defeat In 1960-61 Double Season


First defeat for Spurs in 1960-61 season [Photo: Logan Holmes]12th November, 1960

Sheffield Wednesday 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Scorers:  Griffin, Fantham   Norman

Team: Brown; Baler, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson

The Tottenham team had looked invincible through the opening months of the 1960-61 season. They had won all before them with the exception of a home draw with Manchester City. The season started with 11 victories. City held them to a 1 – 1 draw at White Hart Lane in match number 12 but Spurs immediately recovered to win the next 4 matches and scoring 16 goals.


The next match was away to Sheffield Wednesday. If Skysports had been around in the 1960s this match would have had top billing for their Super-Saturday programme. Top vs second at Hillsborough with Spurs seven points clear of Wednesday but having played one match more. Wednesday had 8 straight wins at home while Spurs had an unblemished away record with 8 wins. Something had to give in this game.

Hillsborough has never been a ‘happy hunting ground’ for Spurs. Their last win on the ground had been in 1937 and that had been their only success in twenty five League and Cup visits.

It was a full-blooded game which brought Spurs’ undefeated run to an end. Both teams had chances to score in the first half before Wednesday went ahead after forty minutes through outside right Billy Griffin but Spurs levelled two minutes later when Maurice Norman scored after a free-kick.

Spurs threatened to take control in the early stages of the second half but Wednesday went ahead at the mid-way point when John Fantham scored after 70 minutes. Spurs were unable to come back again in spite of some intense pressure in the closing moments, losing their unbeaten run in the seventeenth game.

So by mid-November, Spurs’ record was:

P  17  15 D  1 L  1 For  54  Ag 20  Pts 31 (2 points for a win)

Match report [Photo: Logan Holmes]

After the match Tottenham manager, Bill Nicholson ever the perfectionist said,

"Congratulations to Wednesday – but on the balance of play we should have won. We had chances and did not take them. I thought it was a poor game. Too many petty infringements and not enough good football. I am disappointed we played so badly."